After receiving very positive feedback on our blog contributions in the last years, we would like to continue this still young tradition of the Liechtenstein Academy Blog also this year.
Also in 2020, it is important for us to consider very different perspectives in order to offer you the most stimulating possible offer. This year, we have been able to attract six well-known guest authors, who, with no editorial filters, write about their personal thoughts. Look forward to new and surprising insights from Michael Bursik, complex issues, simply explained by Ulrich Schnabel, philosophical insights from Dr. Ina Schmidt, astute thoughts by our language and legal expert Carlos A. Gebauer, exciting topics around the many topics of working in the digital era by Sibylle Mäder as well as constructive considerations of our health expert Christoph von Oldershausen.
We wish you a stimulating read.
Your Liechtenstein Academy team
An Acceptance Seminar
The ability of materials to return to their original shape after deformation is described in materials science as elasticity, flexibility or resilience. In relation to humans and their «malleability», the understanding of resilience goes a little further. A resilient person is someone who not only masters challenges and crises well (returning to their previous state afterwards), but also emerges from them stronger.
This principle is similar to a tree whose branches bend significantly to the side under the weight of heavy snow. The tree has literally left its original form in order not to break under the weight of the snow. As soon as the snow melts, it returns to its original shape. If this spectacle is repeated over many years, the tree becomes stronger and stronger and thus more and more resilient.
So is resilience something like a superpower that protects us from all negative influences and makes us stronger and stronger with every challenge we overcome? In fact, resilience is often referred to as the immune system of the psyche, because it has an important protective function for us. Nevertheless, there are events and circumstances that are so overwhelming that they throw us off track – no matter how well prepared we were.
To this day, it is still not conclusively clear how great a proportion of the genetic disposition for the development of a resilient personality actually is and to what extent we can become more resilient through our own thinking and acting. What is clear, at least, is that resilience can be practiced and thereby our own immune system of the psyche can be improved.
A common theory of resilience says that there are 7 factors (also called pillars) which make up a resilient personality and which can actively influence positively. These 7 factors are:
- Acceptance: accepting change and unchanging situations instead of fighting against them.
- Optimism: Confidence, trust and security through a positive basic attitude.
- Solution orientation: seeing problems as a challenge and an opportunity.
- Taking responsibility: Taking responsibility for one's own thoughts, feelings and actions, but not for things outside of one's sphere of influence.
- Role behaviour: Shaping one's own role according to one's own ideas, leaving the victim role.
- Planning for the future: Taking initiative, developing and actively shaping goals, visions and objectives.
- Social network: building and maintaining valuable relationships, with a willingness to accept and seek support.
Go through the factors again at your leisure and take a moment to reflect. What factors have helped you in recent weeks to remain positive and to cope well with the situation? And vice versa: Which pillar should you pay more attention to in the future, in order to be well prepared for further challenges?
For my personal immune system of the psyche, the factor acceptance was very decisive and an important basis for looking optimistically and with a solution-oriented mindset into the future:
Accept it. It is not resignation. Nothing makes you lose as much energy as the discussions and the fight against a situation that you cannot change. (Dalai Lama)
Resilient people are characterized among other things by the fact that they recognize very quickly what cannot be changed. We have all gone through a real-life intensive acceptance seminar in the last few weeks – whether we wanted to or not. Our planning horizon is now no longer based on months and years, but on days and weeks. And perhaps this is exactly what gives us the opportunity to find a new focus for everything that remains influenceable for us.
This is exactly what resilience is all about. Accepting does not mean sitting in a corner, resigned to fate, and waiting. Rather, the willingness to accept what is, opens our eyes to new possibilities and opportunities.
I am curious to see where you draw your strength from.
Which pillar of resilience helps you to remain positive?
Written by: Christoph von Oldershausen